Surviving the Holidays After Narcissistic Abuse
Narcissistic Abuse Awareness and Guidance with Randi Fine
Article by Randi Fine
Surviving the holidays after choosing to go “no contact” with a narcissistic family member or relationship can be very difficult.
Survivors do not want to separate from their family members and relationships or become outcasts. They try over and over, year after year, to mend these toxic relationships, hoping each time things will be different, but it never is. The choice to go no contact becomes a matter of survival. That choice can be especially challenging during the holiday season.
Many survivors experience a sense of dread and feelings of profound loneliness as the holidays approach. They mourn the family or relationship they thought or wish they had. They feel lost without the deeply ingrained traditions they’ve associated with the holidays for many years. And they agonize at the thought of being left out of the gatherings and traditions that continue without them.
The post-abuse holiday blues are real but they don’t last forever. In the meantime, here are ten great tips to help you survive and thrive through it all:
- Remember how frustrating and stressful past holidays with the narcissist were. Think about all the drama and button-pushing you are leaving behind. Appreciate the relief of no longer having to deal with it.
- Resist the urge to reach out to the narcissist and wish him or her a happy holiday. You have gone no contact for a reason. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked back in—for any reason.
- Holidays give narcissists the perfect excuse to try to contact you. Do not engage in it. Ignore it. It is a trap.
- The holiday season is meant to be a time of giving. Instead of focusing on what you have lost think about ways you can give back. Find ways to help those less fortunate than you are.
- Give thanks for the many blessings you have in your life. Freedom from the narcissist is one of them. Write them down on separate pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Whenever you need an emotional boost, pick one and read it.
- Traditions have to start somewhere. Create ones you will look forward celebrating each year.
- Pamper yourself; take a vacation, get a massage, get a mani/pedi, spend an entire day at a spa.
- DVR a list of funny movies or comedy acts you can watch when you feel lonely. Make some popcorn and spend the entire time laughing.
- Spend quiet time alone with yourself; meditate, do yoga, take walks, read books, journal, enjoy a quiet hobby.
- Stay true to yourself. Don’t allow others to judge you or place expectations on you. If you are invited out and do not want to go, don’t feel obligated. If others are uncomfortable with you being alone that is their problem, not yours.
Randi Fine is the author of the groundbreaking book Close Encounters of the Worst Kind: The Narcissistic Abuse Survivor’s Guide to Healing, the most comprehensive, most well researched, and most up-to-date book on this subject. In addition to helping survivors recognize their abuse and heal from it, this book teaches mental health professionals how to recognize and properly treat the associated abuse syndrome. She is also the author of Cliffedge Road: A Memoir, the first and only book to characterize the life-long progression of complications caused by narcissistic child abuse.